Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Olive Oil Desserts

In yesterday's post, Deborah Richter, a Registered Dietitian at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus, talked about the benefits of eating olive oil, calling it a step toward healthier eating.

Olive oil is so versatile that it can be a part of practically every meal – to grease the pan when cooking eggs, as a dressing for salads, and as a dip for breads. Even desserts are healthier when olive oil plays a role.

In Micki Sannar's book, Olive Oil Desserts, you'll find dessert recipes that eliminate butter, shortening, and margarine in favor of olive oil and other ingredients, resulting in less fat and fewer calories. Recipes include classics such as coffee cake, rice crispy treats, apple pie, and of course, chocolate chip cookies.

I recently tested the recipe for what Micki calls "a new toll cookie." It's similar to Nestle's, but adds olive oil, butter extract (a butter flavoring) and milk to the butter-less batter.

The recipe is straightforward, and gave me pause only twice (not bad considering that this was my third time baking without mom's help).

In step two, you're asked to blend a mixture of olive oil, sugar, and brown sugar until it's smooth and creamy. After spending some quality time with a handheld mixer, my batter was a little flaky, becoming smooth only after the addition of milk and eggs.

My second mistake: I burned the first tray, not realizing that the cookies were a lighter color than your traditional chocolate chip. After tossing the charred batch into the garbage can, I baked each tray for about 8 minutes, checking the bottom of the cookies periodically for browning.

Once I got the timing down, the results were probably the best that I've had in the kitchen – moist but firm at the same time. Ben said that he wouldn't have known the butter was missing if I hadn't told him, and we finished the entire batch within a day. I made them again this past weekend.

Although I haven't tried the book's other recipes yet (and there are quite a few), I'm confident that they'll yield similar results. Olive Oil Desserts has a five-star rating on Amazon.com, based on 36 reviews.

Unfortunately, Olive Oil Desserts isn't available at the Buffalo & Erie County library, although it can probably be borrowed via interlibrary loan. You can also purchase the book at Amazon.com for $16.41.

Have you tried baking with olive oil?


  1. Wegman's olive oil and sugar all the way!!! I use olive oil to sautee onions and garlic---mmm, mmm good!

  2. I never even knew olive oil could be used for baking! Wow. I have got to try this!

  3. Replies
    1. Nancy won the giveaway. Thanks for entering!

  4. For future baking of cookies, you can line your tray with parchment paper, which will help prevent cookies being too dark :-)

  5. This recipe also calls for imitation butter. She refers to it as butter extract, however, it doesn't contain any butter so therefore can't be referred to as an extract. There is alot of stuff in imitation butter so it seems silly to substitute olive oil for the butter and then use imitation butter. I own the book, am going to try the cookies with more vanilla extract. Any comments?

    1. I've read that instead of butter extract, you can use vanilla extract (so maybe just add more) or omit it altogether. It's only adding a butter flavoring, and your cookies probably don't need the extra flavor. If you do try it without, let me know how it goes! I'd love to have one less ingredient to buy.


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